We can't see too much green with all the snow of late, but that won't stop us from joining all Irish in celebrating St. Patrick's Day on Sunday, March 17.
Not being Irish, I can only attempt to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a traditional manner.
First off, I just read that the Irish call March 17 Paddy’s Day. No saint involved. It’s a difficult pattern to break. On the other hand, it’s not too difficult to enjoy the cuisine of Paddy’s Day, cause it’s really some of my favorite.
Without relatives of Irish descent I had to rely on the internet for information about food and facts about St. Pat… opps Paddy’s Day.
No corned beef and cabbage for the Irish – that’s an American-Irish tradition. Corned beef aside, I’m all about a fried Irish breakfast. From this website http://dish.allrecipes.com/irish-recipes-for-st-patricks-day/ I learned about this traditional breakfast of a few slices of bacon (called rashers), fried tomatoes, black pudding (blood sausage), brown soda bread, and a huge pot of tea.
IRISH FRIED BREAKFAST
1. Lay the bacon slices in a single layer in a large skillet. Fry over medium heat until it begins to get tinged with brown. Fry on both sides. Remove from pan, but save grease.
2. Melt butter in skillet. Crack eggs into pan, being careful not to break yolks. Place tomato slices, mushrooms, and bread in pan. Fry gently, stirring mushrooms and tomatoes occasionally. Keep everything separate. Turn bread over to brown on both sides.
3. When egg whites are set, but yolks are still runny, dish half of everything onto each of 2 warmed plates, and serve immediately.
My personal baking experiments include soda bread; and I did try this brown soda bread recipe. It’s okay, but much heavier with whole wheat than the traditional white wheat loaf. And, it’s a big batch. It's traditionally made into a round loaf with a cross etched in the center to keep the fairies out! I am not sure why or where those fairies light? But the cross is nice.
IRISH BROWN SODA BREAD
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Lightly grease two baking sheets.
2. In a large bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, white flour, rolled oats, baking soda and salt. Gently mix in the buttermilk until a soft dough is formed. Knead very lightly. Divide dough into 4 pieces; form into rounded flat loaves. Mark each loaf with an 'X' and place on prepared baking sheets.
3. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Then there’s scones. I love scones. Not the mushy ones you can find in coffee shops, but the crispy on the outside, tender in the inside scones. This recipe makes a large batch of scones which I read are not triangle shaped in Ireland, but round like biscuits.
Gemma's Best Ever Irish Scones
Author: Gemma Stafford
1. In a large mixing bowl, add self raising flour .
2. Using a cheese grater, grate the butter in until it is all gone. (alternatively using a pastry cutter, cut/rub butter into flour until fully crumbed and resembles course breadcrumbs.
3. Stir in raisins, baking powder and sugar.
4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs and milk and until thoroughly combined. Pour mix into flour mix and stir until a soft dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and press to 1 1/2 inch thick. (if your scones are not forming a dough add a little more liquid)
5. Cut scones out with a round 3 inch cookie cutter.
6. Place cut scones onto a baking tray lined with parchment.
7. Gather remaining dough in a ball, re-flatten then cut scones from dough. Repeat until entire batch of dough is cut into scones. If you have a little excess dough left, just pat it onto the top of the scones.
8. Bake at 425oF (210oC) for roughly 22-26 minutes. In the video I said 12 minutes but to get them really golden brown you will want to bake for longer. Cool on wire rack.
9. Serve warm or fully fully cooled with butter, jam, or fresh cream.
For dessert, I found an apple tart recipe from the Kerry Gold website. If you haven’t had Kerry Gold butter, I would recommend that over a rasher of bacon if you are deviating from your diet on Sunday, March 17.
The sublime supper favorite, homemade apple tart evokes childhood memories of granny’s magical kitchen, filled with sugar-coated treats. Keep it traditional with apples or try seasonal fruits such as blueberries or the classic culinary pair of rhubarb and strawberry.
1. Master the perfect pastry with luxurious Kerrygold butter. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Work in the butter with a knife and mix in the egg yolks with just enough ice-cold water so the dough comes together. Wrap up in cling film and let it chill for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), Gas Mark 5. Give the work surface a light dusting of flour. Split the pastry into two portions, one a little larger than the other. Roll out the bigger bit until it’s 30cm (12in) in diameter and line a 20cm (8in) deep dish pie plate or 23cm (9in) flat pie plate, gently pressing into the corners with your thumb. Knock the sides with a round-bladed knife to give a decorative finish and place back in the fridge to chill while you prepare the apples.
3. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Place in a large bowl with all but one tablespoon of the caster sugar and the cinnamon and cloves. Brush the edge of the pastry with a little milk. Mix the apple filling together, then stuff into the lined pie dish. Roll out the second piece of pastry into a circle slightly larger than the pie dish and position to cover the apples. Press the edges together to seal, then use a sharp knife to cut away any excess.
4. Great pastry calls for a decorative finish. Crimp the edges of the tart with a round-bladed knife using your fingers as a guide and then roll out the pastry scraps and cut into leaf shapes. Brush with milk and stick on top of the pie and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4 and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
5. To serve, allow the apple tart to settle for at least 5 minutes, then cut into slices and arrange on plates. In our rule book, the chef deserves a second helping.
Should you be so inclined to drink too much in celebration of Paddy’s Day, you can stave off that hangover by drinking a flat 7-up and having a crisp sandwich. All you need is buttered white bread and some Irish potato crisps.
So have some fun with green on Sunday and do a little weekend baking in celebration of St. Patrick.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.